[Bf-committers] extension clause

Dan Eicher dan at trollwerks.org
Mon Nov 22 10:06:44 CET 2010

On Sun, Nov 21, 2010 at 6:31 PM, Benjamin Tolputt
<btolputt at internode.on.net> wrote:
> On 22/11/2010 10:46 AM, Dan Eicher wrote:
> > More likely your crime would preclude you from being protected under thelicensing terms since you were never the legal recipient of said
> > software. Just because something is under the GPL doesn't give anyone carte
> > blanche permission to use, modify and copy but merely the folks who legally
> > obtained it.
> Quite simply put, you are wrong on this. Once the code has been
> distributed, it is legal for me to have & distribute a copy of it. The
> hacking is illegal but the GPL license on the material makes it's
> distribution legal once it has been sent "off-site" already.
> The laws around hacking concern themselves with the intrusion, fraud,
> and damage caused. They leave the distribution of material obtained to
> the laws concerning copyright and trade secrets (where they are already
> adequately covered).
> Again, this is not something I am pulling out of thin air but what is
> being advised to corporate decision makers by legal representatives.
> Until such time as it is proven in court, this is the best a corporate
> head can hope for in terms of "what is & isn't legal".
> --
> Regards,
> Benjamin Tolputt
> Analyst Programmer
from the faq;
If someone steals a CD containing a version of a GPL-covered program,
does the GPL give him the right to redistribute that version?

If the version has been released elsewhere, then the thief probably
does have the right to make copies and redistribute them under the
GPL, but if he is imprisoned for stealing the CD he may have to wait
until his release before doing so.

If the version in question is unpublished and considered by a company
to be its trade secret, then publishing it may be a violation of trade
secret law, depending on other circumstances. The GPL does not change
that. If the company tried to release its version and still treat it
as a trade secret, that would violate the GPL, but if the company
hasn't released this version, no such violation has occurred.

So, yeah, according to the FSF a stolen version is ok to distribute...
not that I agree with their reasoning on this though.

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